1. Show up on time. If you can’t, call or notify manager, booker/host. Or someone on the show.
2. Know what “the light” is & don’t run it. At The Hollywood Improv it says you may not get booked again if you do.
3. When on stage, understand mic control and “find your light”. You’re there to be seen & heard. Let the light hit your face. Don’t hide in the shadows.
4. Learn how to MC. Great MC’s make great headliners. It’s the first club gig most comics get booked for. Craig Gass told me this.
5. If you are concerned about money, ask about it before you book a gig. Getting mad after the fact is moot. And if you are in it Just for the money, you will be disappointed.
6. If you want to work a venue, show up there more than once a month. Being seen at the club, is a good way of getting seen on the stage.
7. The staff has the ear of bookers and managers. If they don’t like you, it could affect your booking status. So buy drinks/food and tip!!
8. Be patient. Even when you are done waiting, wait some more. Chris Rock has a good story about that, and how he got SNL. They don’t call it “Last Comic Standing” for nothing.
9. Start an email list. It’s helpful when creating a fan base.
10. Write often and write anything. Jokes, stories, quotes, nonsense, ideas, feelings etc…You might not be able to use it today but it could be gold tomorrow.
11. Alcohol may be “free” for performers but the cost of drunkenness, could leave you paying for it for years to come.
12. Have a solid 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 45 and hour. 13. Get a bus, BART, train, shuttle, public transit schedule. You never know when you’ll need it. Also, get familiar with Craigslist ride-share.
14. In college, you learn from professors and study with other students. It’s the same in comedy. Get to know headliners. They tend to know more than the open mic’ers you hang with. And if they like you, you could end up their opener or feature.
15. Don’t take NO for an answer. But don’t be an ass when you get told it.
16. Don’t steal jokes. And don’t get caught up being the “joke police” either. Write and focus on your own act. That was something Marc Maron told me in an interview.
17. Don’t forget that this is show “business”. If it was just about the art, you wouldn’t be working so hard to get club work or getting paid.